WMS people

Head Search—FAQs

What is the timeline for the search?
The search for a new head started in earnest when our consultants (Jane Armstrong and Bill Lyons from Independent Thinking: www.independent-thinking.com) visited school in February and engaged the community in active conversations as to what we are seeking in our next head of school. After drafting an Opportunity Statement defining the school’s needs, the consultants will begin to speak with educational leaders about the opportunity in order to attract and vet a strong candidate pool. They will introduce candidates to the members of the search committee who will begin its process of interviewing and exploring attractive candidates. It is the industry practice that these stages of the process are confidential. We are fortunate to have significant lead time to identify the right next leader for our school as Pat will continue to serve as Head of School through June 2018. While balancing the understandably confidential aspects of the search, the search committee will keep the community informed as the process moves forward.

How was the search committee formed?
The Board of Trustees has appointed a small committee to work on behalf of the school community undertaking the important work of partnering with our search consultants to vet potential head of school candidates. This is a Board appointed committee and needs to be comprised of individuals who have the time to take on this time consuming and important task. The Board is following the recommendation of our search consultants to keep this committee small. The members of the committee are:

  • Bill Dunbar, Co-chair (Current Parent, Current Trustee, Board Chair)
  • Matt Karpas, Co-chair (Current Parent, Current Trustee, Board Vice Chair)
  • Rob Copen (Current Parent, Current Trustee)
  • Betsy Deluca (Head Teacher, Past Parent)
  • Karyn Detje (Current Parent, Current Trustee)
  • Kerry Dorton (Head Teacher, Past Parent)
  • Sandy Neubauer (Past Parent, Past Trustee, Past Board Chair)
  • Peter O’Neill (Past Parent, Past Trustee)
  • Coco Sellman (Current Parent, Current Trustee)
  • Denise Trevenen (Past Parent, Current Trustee, Past Board Chair)

Search committee members will be committing a great deal of time and energy to this process as they hold the important responsibility of working on behalf of the entire school community. We recognize and greatly appreciate that there are many individuals eager to help in this process—certainly far more than can be accommodated by the recommendation of our search consultants to keep the committee number small in order to ensure the ability and flexibility to meet frequently as a full committee.

What does the Search Committee do?
The search committee will partner with our search consultants to vet candidates who are interested and qualified to serve as Washington Montessori School’s next head of school. They will serve as Washington Montessori School ambassadors in meeting and interviewing candidates. They will work on behalf of the community to ensure that the search and process are successful for the school. Ultimately, they will gather the input of the community, conduct extensive reference checking and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees as to which candidate should be offered the opportunity to serve as our next head of school. The search committee does not hire the Head of School as that is the responsibility of the Board.

What is Washington Montessori School looking for in the next Head of School?
We are looking for a great next leader for Washington Montessori School who will embrace the school’s mission and culture. We have started conversations that will define the qualities and experiences sought in the head of school but the input of all stakeholders will help share what we as a school need. Our search consultants will prepare an Opportunity Statement for perspective candidates to review, which will outline what we are seeking. That document will be a public document and will be shared openly with our community.

Who is involved in the Search?
The Search Committee, by charge of the Board, is responsible for managing the search on behalf of the entire school community. The search committee and the search consultants will be utilizing the perspectives, knowledge and wisdom of all members of the school’s administrative team, faculty, staff, parents and other stakeholders as appropriate. Candidates will certainly appreciate the opportunity to learn about the school, its culture and its history as they visit our school later in the process.

How will communication be handled?
We are committed to keeping the community apprised as appropriate throughout the process. We will continue to use the various Washington Montessori School communication vehicles to share information. There will certainly be public “quiet” periods during the course of our search as the search consultants and committee are conducting the confidential work of vetting potential candidates. Additionally, you can email our search consultants, Jane Armstrong and Bill Lyons, at it@independent-thinking.com with questions.

Will the search impact my child’s experience?
Washington Montessori School is fortunate to have a strong administrative team, faculty and staff who will continue to do the great work they do to ensure that the school is a great place for all of our children to come each day. This talented group and the Board will all be working to partner with the new head of school as we transition to new leadership. We are all committed to doing the work necessary to ensure the strengths of Washington Montessori School are only enhanced as we move forward.

Who will hire the new Head of School?
The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring the Head of School.

Have a question that is not answered here?
Please feel free to contact the search committee chairs through our email:

Bill Dunbar – wldunbar@paddyhollow.us

Matthew Karpas – mpk@karpasonline.com